Discovering Afghanistan’s Rich History through 20 Captivating Vintage Photographs

The only thing that comes to mind when people think about Afghanistan is conflict. This nation has dominated the news headlines for everything terrible throughout the past decade and beyond. Taliban and terrorism have become synonymous with Afghanistan, and it is not hard to see why. Even today, Afghanistan’s situation remains uncertain.

Afghanistan has been invaded many times by several colonial and regional powers due to its strategic location at the crossroads of Central Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, and the Middle East. Despite having a rugged terrain and fiercely independent tribal population, foreign forces have overrun Afghanistan over time. However, it is also a fact that no one has ever completely invaded Afghanistan at once. Afghanistan has been the center of several mighty kingdoms for over 2,000 years.

The war-torn nation was once calm and progressive, unlike today. From the 1950s to the 1980s, Afghanistan looked very different from what it is today. Women wore western dresses or short skirts freely, and wearing Hijab was not mandatory. Luxury vehicles decorated the roadways, not blood. Extremist forces did not rule Afghanistan, making it a much better place for its non-Muslim population.

The following photos from Afghanistan’s history show how modern it was:

1. During the 1950s and 1960s, Afghanistan had female scouts who were taught about nature trails, camping, and public safety by their instructors.

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2. Previously, the nation had well-equipped and effective military forces to safeguard itself.

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3. Women used to take their children to playgrounds without any concern.

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4. At one point in time, women had the freedom to enter record stores and purchase the music they desired to listen to.

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5. Exterior views of theaters that exhibited Hollywood movies.

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6. This is what the newborn ward of a Kabul hospital looked like during the 1960s

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7. Kindergarten students would dance to music in the schoolyard.

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8. Views of shopping areas in the villages of Afghanistan

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9. The practice of co-education was commonplace

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10. Picnics were solely about enjoying good music and having a great time without any concerns

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11. The Afghan communities had open-air classrooms, making education accessible to its people

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12. It was not rare for Afghan women to attend school and college at one point in time

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13. In public places like gardens, women were free to go around as they wanted

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14. Students had the freedom to pursue their studies at colleges without any limitations on their actions

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15. Kabul to Peshawar by bus

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16. Afghan soldiers

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17. Chemistry lesson going on in a mud classroom

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18. Afghan men are returning home after work

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19. Afghans protesting for civil rights without any hindrance

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20. Women were free

Modern Afghanistan girls in past

These pictures portray a vastly different Afghanistan, and it’s heart-wrenching to observe how the war has shattered the country in every aspect. Dr. Bill Podlich, a university professor, took these photographs during his two-year assignment with his family and UNESCO in Afghanistan.

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